Archive for January, 2014

A Part of Me by Yaari

January 14, 2014

I remember that afternoon quite clearly.  David’s presence helped me breathe.  The knowledge that he would catch me if I fell gave me strength.  I had finally gotten up the courage to go to her.  David drove; I held on.  I knew she was dying.  A part of me wanted this to happen before I had to see her alive and suffering.

I knew that it would hurt, that there would be pain.  My father had introduced me to in at the age of ten. Those memories were etched into my mind.

My granny, Mary Vierra, was a story teller.  Those stories gave me the young woman in the ancient body; a body some found frightening to touch.

Age made her a part of me.  The circle was closing.  The woman who was there at every turn was on her way to the other side.  I wanted to give her some of my warmth and youth; I wanted to let her know that she was loved.

I watched the wrinkles in her face, her extra long braids brought memories of the many hats she wore to avoid catching “linen cold.” The fleshy folds that hung from her arms stirred inner smiles as I recalled the times that I spent letting my fingers swing them in fascination.  Curled under her were those bowed legs that made her seem small.  They never stopped her incessant movements; she made daily walks to the market.

She and I had been running in the opposite direction.  I hid in David’s shadow.  As long as happily making love of some sort in my new world of romantic emotions, I could pretend that death was not rapping at my family door, again.

Mummy kept me informed of the different stages of deterioration and that was hard enough to bear.  The night before, a call came in saying she had collapsed at home and had been taken to the hospital.  The doctor had operated and after the operation Granny had had a heart attack.

It tore at my guts when I thought of a knife cutting through that already frail and dying body – so fragile and old that all the veins showed – her body transparent as if she was slowly disappearing.  Why cut her?  But I knew the answers.  She was in pain and they were doing their best – the oath.  Wouldn’t I have done the same thing?  I would have become that pain – taken it as my own; eased that old and dying body into the ground.

I went to see her in the hospital; reluctantly I took the drive.   I knew I didn’t want to; I didn’t want to see her.

She was in a home for the elderly.

My mother had kept her for as long as she could – it was impossible because she needed constant attention.  I knew a part of Mummy died when she let her go …. even though there was no other choice ….

In Guyana, to put someone in a home is as bad as putting them out on the street.  It is as if you have handed them over to Death letting him know that the fight was almost over.  What else could she do? – new immigrants to the country – she, starting life over at 55 in a new country, new job, new apartment – new savings.  Daughters all in school with hopes of becoming something – but nothing yet.  There was nothing to do even if we were filithy rich but in the face of Death there is the need to feel that something else may have been done.

I knew I must see her.  What kind of person would I be?  A coward?  Someone who couldn’t stand to face the pain of someone she loved.  Someone who couldn’t give whatever help was needed in order to cross that invisible border into the next world.  No!  I couldn’t do that because I loved her and she ahd always been there for me and after all to love is to be strong enough to bear pain for others.

Oh God!  I was scared!  I was walking but I wanted to stop.  David was my thread.  He stayed by my side and his company worked like a strong breeze pushing forward.

We passed others – old people – in different stages of decay.  Some were bearable, some were sad and some were downright unpleasant to look at.  I don’t really remember the hall, the building or the colors of the walls but I can still see those faces as if they were yesterday, maybe they’ll fade with time.

I guessed we had come to her room because the nurse left us at this door which was standing ajar. I grabbed at David’s hand.  He held me.  He squeezed reassurance.

Upon entering the dimming lit room I could not focus.

Suddenly, the light came on.

The first thing I saw was an empty bed and, for an instant, my reaction was one of relief.  It was a delay of a few seconds, then I saw her.  My God!  She was so small, lying there in a fetal position, her knees drawn up to her chest, so damn small and fragile.  So lonely. so lost, so vulnerable.

My grandmother who had given me so much hell when I was younger – oh what I would have done then to have her back screaming at me.  I wanted to cradle her in my arms like a baby, but I was frozen – stopped dead in my tracks as I felt my body react.

I turned to the window.  David stood behind and wrapped his warmth around me.

I felt the heat of tears, the pain lacerated my insides – they burned fast and furious.  They shook my whole body.  Oh… there were tears of sadness, of pity, of helplessness, of anger, of self disgust, and tears of love.  I tried to control them, tried to hold them back.  I turned into David’s shoulder. He held me.

I knew she wasn’t with me in the present – she was  senile – living somewhere in her childhood – who could know for sure.  Yet, I did not want to upset her with tears.

I heard a tiny voice.  “Is that you Denise?”  I looked over and she was looking right at me.

She recognized me!   I said very softly, reaching but not expecting a response, “hello Granny” and I saw it in her face – she recognized my voice and a light appeared in her face for an instant and she turned and said quite clearly, in surprise “Denise!”  It was as if she had missed me, as if she knew that I hadn’t been to visit with her in a long time.  A stab of pain seared my heart.  I had avoided her; watching age take it’s toll, sapped my spirit.  I did not want to feel sadness.

Her time with me only lasted seconds.  They were seconds that held a million conversations – a million memories.  It was in those seconds that our loved reached across time, across borders, it was a last touch.  A final goodbye.  My tears came easier.  They came slower and eased the pain.  I had done the right thing in coming.

After midnight on Broadway by Yaari

January 14, 2014

The night was beautiful – one of those warm, soft and deep dark velvet skies – a blanket of black charcoal, dotted with bright spots of tiny white lights shooting silver sparks off their sides – the kind of night that begs for your gaze as you drink in every drop.  Casting caution to the wind, I ignored my need for sleep.  Rushing through my brain was the thought that tomorrow would be a day of drooping eyelids and muscles that groaned with every move.  My mind quickly shoved that thought into the tiny sucking hole created for things to be denied and suppressed.

My right foot moved off the accelerator toward the brake; my right hand reluctantly eased out and joined my left on the steering wheel as I slowed my sloppily loved blue Honda Civic and let it crawl across the driveway hump of the restaurant. I pulled into the parking lot.  My eyes darted around and found the only available parking space – a quiet spot outlined by two fading white lines waiting in the comfortable shadow of a naked city tree.  As I reached my right hand to pull up the brake, a rush of breath escaped as my voice stirred the calm.

Boy, I’m really hungry now dat we’re her ……uuuummmmm…..

My eyes quickly took in the many cars in the parking lot.  There would be a line of colorfully dressed party goers in the lobby.

I’m in the mood for someting salty….

My left hand moved.

Grits?  Never really had it before….

toward the door handle as my body prepared to unfold into a  long awaited stretch and I anticipated a slow leisurely late night early morning breakfast.  It stirred memories of comfort.

Ooooh…..

the sound of her voice and the slam of the passenger door brought my awareness back to the warmth of the night and the beautiful woman in my company.  Like the night, she was a tall, elegant human sculpture of warm caramel gong on toffee, covered from neck to toe in rich, ink black sweater and pants.

The Unborn by Yaari

January 14, 2014

In the spirit world a long time ago, the spirits looked down and found great pride in a couple who lived in a land of wide expanses of green, lush trees, deep lakes and rushing rivers.  They watched as she, deep dark and vibrantly black, moved up and against her lover as he dipped steadily into her, his powerful muscles encased in the lushness of sapodilla smooth brown skin.

Children spilled from her womb full of health, sucking deep into their bodies the milk of a loved woman and very soon they roamed happily in a land of siblings, family, and love.

This couple never left each other; they broke bread, hunted, made home, cared and grew into weather wrinkled wise ones.  She was a teacher and he was a healer.  They laughed; they loved; they created stories – teaching and healing their offspring and the future.  When death came to her she followed and waited patiently on the other side for her lover.  He, seeing no reason to stay, joined her quickly and happiness was their reward.

Their spirits were then reborn into two beautiful African beings that found themselves on a march to slave ships.  She was torn from him and stumbled battered and raped onto Caribbean soil.  He found himself on a block, his balls palmed and examined and his beautiful muscles prodded – sold onto a plantation of cruelty and hate.

She was forced time and time again to bring forth children; brutality withered her spirit as over the years she watched as predator fathers raped and sold their own children.  This time she ran into the arms of death chased by an evil she could not name.

He, covered with the scars of that vicious evil, watched as his seed came forth from multiple loins into a world of inhumane translucent beings.  They stood on two feet, fangs dripping with blood, as they fed new flesh to their young.  He died with a longing for a time long ago and a land of stars and freedom still a flicker in his memory.

On the other side, she took deep breaths with the hope that he would come.  He arrived to find her waiting.  They held each other and waited to try again.  This time they found different chains and they refused to give birth, to share, to provide flesh to the new monster – capitalist cannibalism.